The Best URL Structure for a Website

Best URL Structure
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A well-crafted website is crucial for any business or organization. But a website’s success goes beyond just aesthetics and content.

A critical, often overlooked, element is your URL structure.

Think of your URL structure as the roadmap of your website. It guides users and search engines to the specific information they seek.

A well-defined URL structure not only enhances user experience but also plays a significant role in Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Url structure
web design

Improved User Experience (UX)

Clear and descriptive URLs make it easier for users to understand the content they’re about to access.

Imagine the difference between a URL like “product123.html” and one like “website-design-services“.

The latter is much more informative and user-friendly.

SEO Optimization

Enhanced SEO

Search engines consider URL structure when ranking websites.

Descriptive URLs that incorporate relevant keywords can signal topic relevance to search engines, potentially improving your website’s ranking for those keywords.

Cutting-Edge Solutions

Easier Website Navigation

A consistent URL structure helps users navigate your website intuitively.

Users can often predict the URL format for similar content, making it easier to find what they’re looking for.

Results-Oriented

Better Website Management

A well-organized URL structure makes it easier for you to manage and maintain your website content.

You can easily identify and locate specific pages based on their URLs.

Best Practices for a Winning URL Structure

Keep it Descriptive min

Keep it Descriptive

Use clear and concise words that accurately reflect the content of the page.

Incorporate Keywords

Incorporate Keywords

Strategically include relevant keywords within your URLs, but avoid keyword stuffing.

Prioritize Readability

Prioritize Readability

Aim for URLs that are easy for humans to understand, not just search engine crawlers.

Maintain Consistency

Maintain Consistency

Develop a consistent URL structure and stick to it throughout your website. This makes navigation and understanding easier for users.

url icon

Use Static URLs

Avoid dynamic URLs with complex parameters. Static URLs are cleaner, easier to manage, and more SEO-friendly.

localization

Consider Localization

For multilingual websites, consider incorporating language codes into your URLs for better regional targeting.

Hyphens

Separate Words
with Hyphens

Use hyphens (-) to separate words instead of underscores (_) for better readability.

lowercase word

Favor Lowercase
Letters

Use lowercase letters for better readability and consistency.

Avoid Excessive Folders

Avoid Excessive
Folders

Deeply nested folder structures can be confusing. Aim for a flat or semi-flat structure with a maximum of 3-4 subfolders.

Examples of Good and Bad URL Structure

good and bad url

some examples to illustrate the difference between good and bad URL structure

Good URL Structure

Bad URL Structure

Uninformative, Lacks Keywords

  1. Example URL: https://www.example.com/7890ab
    • Problem: This URL uses a random alphanumeric string “7890ab” that does not convey any information about the content of the page.
  2. Example URL: https://www.example.com/xx14yy
    • Problem: The URL “xx14yy” is a cryptic combination of letters and numbers that gives no insight into the page’s content.

 

Generic, Doesn’t Tell Users What to Expect

  1. Example URL: https://www.example.com/info
    • Problem: The term “info” is too broad and non-specific, leaving users uncertain about the type of information they will find.
  2. Example URL: https://www.example.com/resource
    • Problem: The word “resource” is generic and does not specify what kind of resource it is, making it unhelpful for setting user expectations.

 

Dynamic, Complex, Not User-Friendly

  1. Example URL: https://www.example.com/index.php?id=42&sort=desc&view=full
    • Problem: This URL is complex and includes multiple parameters that make it difficult for users to read and remember.
  2. Example URL: https://www.example.com/products?cat=5&item=23&ref=abc123
    • Problem: The URL contains multiple query parameters that are not user-friendly and make the URL appear cluttered and complex.

 

About the Issues

  1. Uninformative, Lacks Keywords: These URLs do not include any descriptive words or keywords that provide context about the page’s content.
  2. Generic, Doesn’t Tell Users What to Expect: These URLs use overly broad terms that fail to inform users about the specific nature of the page’s content
  3. Dynamic, Complex, Not User-Friendly: These URLs contain multiple query parameters and complex structures that are difficult for users to read, understand, and remember.

Optimizing Existing URL Structure

If your website already has an established URL structure, it’s not too late to make improvements.

Identify Areas for Improvement

Improvement

Analyze your website’s existing URL structure and identify inconsistencies or areas that lack clarity.

Develop a Plan

Develop a Plan

Create a plan for gradually optimizing your URLs. Prioritize changes based on importance and potential impact.

Implement Redirects

Redirects

When changing URLs, use 301 redirects to ensure users and search engines land on the correct page.

Update Internal Links

Internal Links

Make sure your internal links reflect the updated URLs to avoid broken links.

Best Permalink Structure for WordPress

WordPress, the popular content management system (CMS), offers several options for customizing your website’s permalink structure, which is essentially the URL structure for your individual posts, pages, and other content types.

WordPress Permalink Options

WordPress provides a few built-in permalink options you can choose from within your admin dashboard

Recommended Permalink Structure for WordPress

We highly recommend using the Post name structure for most WordPress websites.

User-Friendly

User Friendly url min

Clean and descriptive URLs are easier for users to understand and remember.

SEO-Friendly

seo url

URLs containing relevant keywords can improve search engine ranking. Post names often incorporate keywords naturally.

Flexibility

url Flexibility

Post name URLs can be easily customized for each post while maintaining consistency.

Using Custom Structures

If you prefer more control over your URL structure, you can use the Custom Structure option.

However, this approach requires some familiarity with URL structure tags and potential SEO implications.

Start with Post name

Post name

Use “%postname%” as the core element and add other tags like “%category%” or “%year%” if desired.

Prioritize Readability

Prioritize Readability

Maintain a clear and readable URL structure even with additional tags.

Test and Monitor

test and monitor

After implementing a custom structure, use SEO tools to monitor any impact on search engine ranking.

Tips for WordPress Permalinks

Permalinks

Avoid Changing Existing Permalinks

If your website has been around for a while, changing permalinks can cause broken links and SEO issues. Consider the potential impact before making changes.

redirect url

Use Redirects

If you must change permalinks, implement 301 redirects to ensure users and search engines land on the correct pages.

Save Changes

Always Save Changes

Don’t forget to save your permalink settings after making any adjustments within your WordPress dashboard.

Frequently Asked Questions

The best URL for a website is one that is both user-friendly and SEO-friendly.

This means it should be:

  • Descriptive: Clearly indicate the content of the page it leads to.
  • Concise: Avoid unnecessary characters or complexity.
  • Keyword-rich: Include relevant keywords that users might search for.
  • Easy to read and understand: Use lowercase letters, hyphens for separation, and avoid jargon.

WordPress offers several options for customizing your website’s permalinks (post and page URLs).

The most user-friendly option is the Post name structure, which uses just the title of your post or page.

You can access and change your permalink settings in the WordPress admin dashboard under Settings > Permalinks.

A SEO-friendly URL incorporates relevant keywords that search engines can use to understand the content of your webpage.

It also follows best practices like using clear, descriptive language and avoiding excessive complexity.

  • Use the Post name permalink structure.
  • Edit post/page titles to include relevant keywords.
  • Avoid unnecessary categories or subfolders in the URL structure.
  • Consider using hyphens (-) to separate words in your URL.
  • If using a custom permalink structure, prioritize readability and clarity.

The typical URL for the WordPress admin dashboard usually follows this format:

[yourdomain.com]/wp-admin

There’s no single “ideal” URL, but here are some tips for SEO optimization:

  • Target relevant keywords: Include keywords that users might search for, but avoid keyword stuffing.
  • Keep it concise: Aim for URLs that are clear and easy to read, ideally under 60 characters.
  • Use hyphens for separation: Separate words with hyphens (-) for better readability.
  • Match URL to content: The URL should accurately reflect the content of the page.

Well-Structured URLs

  1. Informative and Keyword-Rich

    • Example URL: https://www.example.com/blog/how-to-improve-seo
    • Description: This URL includes relevant keywords (“how-to-improve-seo”) that describe the content, making it clear and informative for users and search engines.
  2. Descriptive and User-Friendly

    • Example URL: https://www.example.com/products/wireless-earbuds
    • Description: This URL clearly indicates that the page is about wireless earbuds, helping users understand what to expect before clicking.
  3. Organized and Hierarchical

    • Example URL: https://www.example.com/services/web-development/custom-websites
    • Description: This URL shows a clear hierarchy, making it easy to navigate and understand the content structure of the website.

 

Poorly Structured URLs

  1. Uninformative, Lacks Keywords

    • Example URL: https://www.example.com/7890ab
    • Problem: The random alphanumeric string “7890ab” does not convey any information about the page’s content.
  2. Generic, Doesn’t Tell Users What to Expect

    • Example URL: https://www.example.com/info
    • Problem: The term “info” is too broad and non-specific, leaving users uncertain about the type of information they will find.
  3. Dynamic, Complex, Not User-Friendly

    • Example URL: https://www.example.com/index.php?id=42&sort=desc&view=full
    • Problem: This URL is complex and includes multiple parameters that make it difficult for users to read and remember.
  4. Another Dynamic and Unfriendly URL

    • Example URL: https://www.example.com/products?cat=5&item=23&ref=abc123
    • Problem: The URL contains multiple query parameters that are not user-friendly and make the URL appear cluttered and complex.
  • Think about the user: Would a user understand what the URL leads to by looking at it?
  • Focus on clarity: Keep it simple, descriptive, and easy to read.
  • Incorporate keywords: Use relevant keywords to improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Follow a consistent URL structure throughout your website.

A valid URL typically follows this format:

protocol://domain.com/path/filename.html
  • Protocol: (e.g., https://) specifies the communication protocol.
  • Domain: (e.g., maplewebdesign.ca) is the website address.
  • Path: (optional) specifies subfolders within the website.
  • Filename: (optional) specifies the name of the specific webpage file.
  • .html: (optional) is a common file extension for webpages, but not all URLs require it.

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